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Stocks Claw Their Way Back While Interest Rates Drift

It looks like the initial selling in common stocks has ended and shares are moving slowly higher. I would think they are in a ‘wait and see’ period. Of course this wait and see could last just hours–or days. Uncertainty will last for a while–no doubt there are more undiagnosed cases of corona virus in the U.S., but if the reports come in slowly and are modest in number things will stabilize.

Interest rates, as measured by the 10 year treasury are now at 1.62%–down 6-7 basis points today. In my opinion rates were going to this level 1 way or another—I just didn’t think it would be a virus that sent them down. Recall that rates on the 10 year were down at the 1.45% in September–so the current rate is not a new low. We all know that rates could spike way up based on inflation or many others reasons–they could also drift lower and lower. So really since I could make a case for either higher or lower rates there is no reason to change anything I have been doing for months and months–probably will have to live with a high level of cash for a long, long time.

The average $25 preferred and baby bond is off 3 cents today–so we are seeing a bit of disruption–but it was long overdue anyway. I am seeing some of the energy shippers off today–Tsakos Energy Navigation (TNP) issues and Teekay Offshore preferreds (now owned by Brookfield Business Partners) as well. For those with a taste for higher risk maybe there is a bargain being created here.

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